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For the Hopkinsian Magazine. GOD'S GOVERNMENT OF THE MORAL WORLD. Mr. Editor - In the course of my miscellaneous reailing, I receutly perused a sermon, from which I selected the following extracts, as deserving more than ordinary attention. The design of the sermon was to illustrate this sentiment: God intends, by the instrumentality of his word, to accomplish the good pleasure of his will in the moral world. From this sentiment, briefly illustrated and strikingly enforced, the preacher deduces the two inferences which follow, and which I bave selected as differing materially from much of the preaching of modern times, and as demanding serious consideration,
"1. If, in every thing, God has acted with a view to a fixed eod, then, whatever has taken place, has formed a part of his plan or purpose. He has created all things to promote a certain design. Every intermediate step in the process, necessary to the end, 'must have been before him, and received the sanction of his will. It is his province, since both means and ends are dependant on himself, to determine the means, by which he will accomplish his designs.
From the nature of his infinite perfections, we cannot but suppose, that God saw at one glance, with boundless comprehensive view, the best possible end of being, and the best possible means of accomplishing that end. We cannot, therefore, suppose that he would permit any thing to exist, which, under all the circumstances of its existence, and in its assigned and appropriate place, should not be best calculated to execute bis infinitely wise and holy determinations. He has under his control, and has always had, all the agents, both in the natural and moral world; and nothing could, at any time bave taken place, which he did not see wisest and best, in relation to all purposes.
All the natural and moral evil there ever was, or will be in the universe, as well as all the holiness and happiness, must stand connected with his grand plan of government. And this is a view of the subject, that cannot fail to be peculiarly grateful to a pious mind. It is a matter, for which the holy universe will forever bless God, that he has as direct a control over the volitions and actions of all wicked beings, as he has over those of holy beings; and that he is controlling the former, as well as the latter, in such a way, as to declare his richest and highest praise.
'Tis infinitely desirable that he should control the wicked, by an agency, as direct, positive and efficient, as he does holy beings. If his eye were not fixed upon all the path of the wicked, and his hand did not place their steps, who can tell, what the result of their wicked conduct might not be? But as it is, God holds then in his hands, and controls all their ways for his owo glory.
On this point the Scriptures are remarkably explicit and full“I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; that frustrateth the tokens of liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turn
eth wise men backward and maketh their knowledge foolish." " I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; 1, the Lord, do all these things: Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” The Bible teaches us that God absolutely, directly and continually controls the wicked, as well as the righteous. He employs them in those departments of his moral government, for which he has fitted them by his invisible agency. How important is it, that sinners should feel this; and that the righteous too, should know and acknowledge it.
This view of God's purposes and operations, brings him near to every one of us; and attaches an incalculable importance to all our thoughts and ways. To God's wise and benevolent plan of administration, not a single movenient of one of his creatures is a matter of indifference. The great and mighty events and revolutions that take place in the natural world, and among the nations of the earth, are not more important, when viewed in conjunction with the great scheine of providential operations, than the seemingly, most indifferent actions of an obscure individual. How wonderful is that Being, who surveys immensity with a glance, and at the same instant, numbers the hairs of our head, and notices every sparrow that falls to the ground.
2. If God orders all things for the best, then, those who would take out of his hands the right of determining the existenee of sin and its consequences, do actually prescribe limits to the prerogative
of the Most High. They know not what they do. We doubt not • their intentions may be good; and that they act under an impress
ion, that they are doing God service, and are saving his character from reproach: But we must be permitted to doubt, whether they take the best method to accomplish their object, and to exhibit the glory of his wisdom and benevolence.
It is very difficult to perceive, now an infinite Being, who has created all things with a view to a particular end, should yet be so situated, with regard to the means necessary to promote that end, as that they should form no direct part of his plan, but be left to exist as a matter of bare permission, or chance. I say chance, because a permission that excludes positive decree, puts the whole system of means on the ground of mere contingency. It is equally difficult to conceive how the will of an infinite being can be otherwise than efficient.
The impotency of human purposes, consists in an inability to control the means necessary to the end. But as both the means, and the end, lie equally in the purpose of God, and must, of necessitr, according to the present constitution of things; God must create and control the one, by an agency, as direct and efficient, as he does the other. How can the divine Being know, with respect to any given event, that is future, that it will come to pass? Does he know it only, because he will permit creatures to act in a given way? Then what is it, that renders it certain, that they will act in a given way?
For the certainty of the event must be established, before it can be foreknown. Who establishes this certainty? Is it God, by permission? But if the certainty depends on permission, then where is the difference between permission and decree? If the permission renders it certain, then the decree does no more. It will thence be seen, that all attempts to modify, or explain away, the plain common sense, as well as Bible doctrine, that God moves, by his eftieient will, the whole system of moral agency, is but to darken counsel by words without knowledee.”
The above extracts, Mr. Editor, are well calculated, it appears to me, to exhibit the absurdity of that new fangled system of pretended orthodoxy, which sets limits to the Most High, by saying that sin is a “baleful incident” to the present system of things, and is no part of God's original plan. I would that all who embrace this system, could be induced seriously to peruse these extracts. If you think them coincident with the grand object of your publication, and calculated to subserve the interests of truth, it would be gratifying to one of your readers, at least, to have thein inserted. L. M
P POSTAGE OF THIS PAPER. The decision of the Post Master General, respecting the postage of this periodical, is at length received. The following is an extract from his letter, dated “ Post Office Department, June 8th, 1831."
.“ To be considered a newspaper, it is necessary the publication should contain advertisements, &c. summary of news or notice of current events.-If, hereafter, any portion of it should be devoted to the information of the day, it will become proper to consider it a newspaper, and to rate the postage on it as such.
W. T. BARRY." In this decision we cheerfully acquiesce; and shall, accordingly, devote a portion of each numoer of our work, to intelligence, news, or “the information of the day,” agreeably to the original plan of the publication, as thus expressed in the introduction to the first volume—“For the gratification of such readers, as may not have access to other sources of information, an abstract of Religious Intelligence is proposed, and the usual notices of Ordinations, Anniversaries of charitable societies and new Publications. In those instarces, in which we may have departed from the above plan, it has been owing rather to inadvcrtance, and the narrow limits of our work, than to any change of purpose. · It may now be considered as settled that the postage of this paper, to any place within the State in which it is printed, is one cent; to any place without that State, not distant more than one hundred miles, one cent-over a hundred miles, one and hulf cent.
RELIGIOUS. Revivals of Religion. It is mentioned in the Christian Mirror, that revivals exist or have recently taken place in Blandford, W estfield, Springfield, West Springfield, South Wilbraham, Monson and Brimfield in the county of Hampden; and in Soulh Hadley, Granby, Belchertown and Ware, in the county of Hampshire, Mass. Forty-four Presbyteries sent in their reports to the General Assembly, at their late session in Philadelphia, “ of the visitation of God's Spirit, and of hundreds of sinners converted by his power.”
We learn from the Missionary Herald of July, that “the Ceylon Mission is again favored with the influences of the Holy Spirit.”
SECULAR. "The Treasurer of the Massachusetts General Hospital, bas the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of five thousand dollars, as a donation from a Merchant.”- Boston Transcript.
The Worcester County Historical Society, will celebrate the hundredih anniversary of the incorporation of that county, on the 22d instant.
Watson's Life of Wesley, has just been published in this city, by S. Hoyt & Co. Franklin Buildings. It is a neat edition; and the enterprising publishers succeeded in having it stereotyped by James Conner, printed, bound, and ready for delivery within ten days from their receipt of the first copy of the English work that had ever crossed the Atlantic. It contains 328 pages 12 mo. and is embellished with an elegant likeness of Wesley, engraved by Longacre.
FOREIGN. France seems on the eve of fresh troubles.
The Poles are again victorious, and seem to have expelled the Russians from their territory.
Greece.—The general condition of things is not very satisfactory, and there are fears of fresh disturbances. The whole of Bosnia is in a complete state of insurrection against the Sultan. Several French men of war bad crossed the Adriatic, probably to influence the negotiations between France and Rome.-Gen. of Temp.
LPThis number is a week later than it should be; owing to the indisposition of one of the Printers.
SCOTT'S FAMILY BIBLE, with critical Notes and practical Obsero vations, in 6 Octavo vols.-Price 13 dollars-For sale at No. 5, Market. Square, by
BREWER & WILCOX. THE THREE First VOLUMES OF THE HOPKINSIAN MAGAZINE, either Half-bound, or in Boards, may be had, entire, or in single volumes, at very reduced prices, at the Book-store of
HUTCHENS & SHÉPARD,
First door West of the Bridge, Providence. WILLIAM MARSHALL & Co No. 12, Market-Square, Providence, R. I. will execute orders of any amount for BooK AND JOB PRINTING, in a nent manner, with promptness, and on reasonable terms.
Providence, March, 1831.
AUGUST 31, 1831.
For the Hopkinsian Magazine. REVIVAL MEASURES-NO. 7. In my last I pointed out several advantages of exhibiting all the counsel of God in revivals. Several others may yet be noticed.
Those who adopt this course have the advantage of being consistent with themselves. A perfect harmony and consistency runs through all the doctrines and duties of the gospel, when exhibited in the light of the ultimate design of God in the gospel scheme. All the duties of the gospel spontaneously and naturally result from its leading doctrines and first principles. No doctrine or duty in the whole system clashes with any other, or with common sense. They are all connected and bound together by the strong chain of consistency. And those who honestly declare all the system, present each and every part in such a light that they will appear as constituent parts of the same comprehensive glorious scheme which emanated from the divine will. This gives a peculiar beauty and grace to their preaching, for there is nothing which the human mind more spontaneously admires than consistency and harmony. But those who deny or conceal some of the leading doctrines or duties of the gospel, are always liable to run into gross inconsistencies and absurdities. It is the common fate of error to run crooked. Some who profess to hold that God works in men to will and to do of his own good pleasure, teach that he absolutely chooses to have all men saved, and does all he can to effect it without destroying the freedom of the will; and yet deny universal salvation. Some who teach that God does all he can to make all men forever happy in heaven without absolutely destroying free agency, yet profess to believe that all impenitent sinners are at enmity wilh God. Some hold that God infallibly foreknew all events from eternity, and yet deny his universal purposes. Some profess to hold to the doctrines of election and divine sovereignty, and yet deny the doctrine of reprobation. Some teach that the natural heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” and yet believe in the sufficiency of moral suasion to convert the singer. Some teach the doctrine of natural inability, and yet urge the duty of immediate repentance and holiness; and others, that we all sinned in Adam, long before we exisled. Some who profess to hold to the divinity of both Christ and his Father, teach that the present system is much less desirable on the whole, than if men and angels had never fallen. Some present selfish inducements, to persuade men to turn from all sin. Some